Southern Africa’s largest natural freshwater lake

Lake Sibaya is tucked against forested coastal dunes, parallel to iSimangaliso’s coastline. At an estimated 7 750ha, Lake Sibaya is the largest of its type and has been listed as a RAMSAR Wetland of International Importance. Marine canyons offshore of Lake Sibaya and the presence of relict estuarine fauna suggest that the Lake was previously connected to the sea by a large river. Its pristine, crystal clear waters fringed by pure white sand are fed entirely by run-off from the high vegetated dunes reaching 165m. No rivers flow in or out of Lake Sibaya.

SA’s second largest population of hippo
A hippo family lounging in their water beds
A hippo family lounging in their water beds

Lake Sibaya is home to KwaZulu-Natal’s second largest population of hippo and crocodiles. It is an important breeding, feeding and roosting area for a host of bird species. Surface water in the surrounding coastal plain often disappears completely during dry spells, making it the only source of permanent water for local fauna. The Lake supports a diverse array of zooplankton, 15 species of aquatic and 43 species of terrestrial molluscs, as well as flora and fauna unique to South Africa.

A birder’s paradise
The point necked, yellow striped snake-bird
A white-breasted cormorant
Lake Sibaya is classified as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife SA. The site has a diverse avifauna, including locally rare species and range-restricted species. A total of 279 bird species have been recorded at Lake Sibaya, 62 of which are closely associated with the Lake through their breeding, feeding or roosting habits. Although few species occur in large numbers, the Lake occasionally supports more than 20 000 waterfowl, some of which are at the southern limit of their distribution.
Nature-lovers and photographers embrace the wildness
Negotiating the beautiful forest tracks
Nothing beats a sunset on Lake Sibaya
This section of the Park has an other-worldliness that defies description. The undulating soft sand roads along the Lake’s shore are strictly 4×4 territory. Out here, you’ll feel as though you are a million miles away from home, cast back in time.
Experience the Lake
Nothing like a canoe for experiencing the lake up 'close and personal'
Nothing like a kayak for experiencing the Lake ‘up close and personal’
Guests at the nearby Thonga Beach Lodge may participate in a kayaking experience on the Lake as one of the Lodge’s exclusive licensed activities.
Accommodation in the Area
No accommodation is currently available in the area
Operators in the Area
Useful Information
Getting There

From Hluhluwe take the R22 towards Sodwana Bay, 18km after Mbazwana turn right at the Coastal Forest turnoff. For visitors in sedan vehicles, it is possible to park vehicles at the Coastal Cashews office and arrange a transfer to the accommodation facilities in this section of iSimangaliso. For visitors driving in their own 4×4 vehicles, continue along this road for 24km until you see signs either to Rocktail Beach Camp or Thonga Beach Lodge.

Gate Opening & Closing Times

Gate opening and closing times:
06h00 to 18h00

Contact Details
Entry Fees

No entry fees payable.

Public Facilities